Attractions on Route 66
The trip of a lifetime
On September 21, 2002, we loaded up the camper and left on one hot sunny day in Southern California for the trip of a lifetime. Our destination was Camden, Maine to visit a friend and tour the harbor on his lobster fishing boat. We decided that we would travel to Chicago on Route 66. My husband and I had spent lots of time on Route 66 as children but only as far as Texas. We would be discovering new states in our travels and we were very excited.
While I can't share the whole trip on this one page (I have two full albums of pictures and trivia), I can share my favorite attractions. That's not true, all of them are favorites and every where we stopped, I would do again.
I have included the Oklahoma City Memorial although it is not a Route 66 attraction. If is close to the highway and not to be missed if you are traveling thorough Oklahoma City.
When this page was originally completed, I used images from other sites. It has now been updated with my photos taken on the trip.
The RVer's Friend
This is everything you will need to travel America for free. This lists all the truck stops where RV's can park overnight. It list which truck stops have showers and restaurants. Unless I am staying at a campground for a specific reason, I never pay for a night's lodging. This is the best book ever.
Don't pet the burros!
Oatman, Arizona - Leaving California, make a left at the Colorado River on the Arizona side and drive and drive and drive on an empty road until you are there.
Oatman was a flourishing gold-mining town in 1915 and after the mine closed, survived as a tourist mecca for Route 66 travelers. It almost died when Route 40 moved further north taking away the tourist traffic. It is literally in the middle of nowhere and the road there is empty of travelers. We did not pass many cars on the way there and it is open desert. However, when you hit the outskirts of town, there are people and cars everywhere. There are two thoughts on the wild burros that roam the streets. Some say they are friendly and can be hand fed. Then, there are the signs that say "Don't" Each visitor can make up their own minds. We admired them from afar. This is a very fun place to visit and they have gunfights in the streets to entertain the guests. There are lots of touristy shops and fun places to eat.
Clark Gable and Carol Lombard honeymooned at the Oatman Hotel March 18, 1939.
Route 66 in Arizona
A comprehensive guide of place to visit.
Oklahoma Memorial - Oklahoma City
This was spray painted on the wall next to the Morrow Building. It is almost impossible to read this without it tugging at your heart. I imagine that everyone who had visited has taken the same picture.
God is here. So many years later I have not lost the feeling of being in this place.
More about the Oklahoma Memorial
Taken directly from the website - ""The Memorial and Museum are dedicated to educating visitors about the impact of violence, informing about events surrounding the bombing, and inspiring hope and healing through lessons learned by those affected."
This is not far off of Route 66 and is a place that all of us who are interested in peace need to visit. Time stopped here. There are two entrance walls. One is labeled 9:01 and the other is 9:03. Between the two walls, all the horror of 9:02 is captured. The bomb went off at 9:02 am. Also captured in between the walls is the hope for a better future. Years later, it still makes me cry.
Oklahoma Memorial Website
- Oklahoma Memorial
The link is to the Memorial website and has all the information visitors need.
Route 66 State Park - Eureka, MO
After you cross the Meramac River which seems like a million times, the Route 66 State Park actually sits on the river. This was once a town that was demolished after they oiled the roads with a toxic compound. Now it is a nature preserve and a museum and a great place to spend some time. There were people on horses and deer that didn't bolt. We loved this place and were sorry that we didn't have more time to spend there.
- Route 66 State Park
From the website "Route 66 State Park showcases the history and mystique of a highway that has been called "The Main Street of America." The historic Route 66 has come to represent American mobility, independence and spirit of adventure, and the park
Picture taken inside the Route 66 State Park
Saint Louis Arch - Saint Louis, Missouri - There is much more here than just the arch
Tree lined walkway to the arch prevents the view until you walk right into it. It is quite spectacular. It was also our first view of the Mississippi. As a reader, who has read about life on the Mississippi, it was a real treat to actually see it.
The museum at the arch is incredible and one could spend all day there and still feel that they have not seen everything. Great place to visit.
The Cozy Dog is the home of the original Corn Dog. For goodness sakes, don't order a hamburger!
Cozy Dog Drive In - Springfield, Illinois
The Cozy Dog is the home of the original Corn Dog. If you have not eaten there and tried the original, you have no idea how good it really is. This is not a commercial but a testimony to the best corn dog I have had. Not that I am a connoisseur but I know good and I know great.
That's me on the left hand side of the restaurant.
Our story about the Cozy Dog Drive In
Spoiler alert. I am going to use a bad word here so just a warning that goes with this story.
We walked into the Cozy Dog. We had done our research so we knew that this was the home of the original corn dog. I walked up to the counter and proudly ordered my corn dog. My husband walked up, scanned the menu and ordered a hamburger.
"What the hell?" came flying out of my mouth. "We have traveled 1500 miles to the home of the original corn dog and you order a hamburger?"
"Uh, I'm hungry", he said. I gave him the "look" and he said, "Add a corn dog".
Good grief, if you have not tried the corn dog and you are at the place where they were started, at least try one. This is Route 66 and the experience must be savored.
- The Cozy Dog Drive In
Don't forget to check out the link. That way, you can check the menu before making a decision.
Route 66 Dining - Keep in mind that the cookbooks are comfort food and not diet friendly
We do not eat at chain restaurants when traveling. Part of a road trip is to learn about an area and sample the tastes of the region. When we get home, we like to recreate the new tastes and dishes. The cookbooks are great!
Someday I will do all the places we stopped on this trip to Maine. We went to Plymouth Rock, Niagara Falls, the Arch in Saint Louis, Canada, and Salem. We traveled through 14 states and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
More of our trip to Maine - beyond Route 66
- Road trip from California to Maine - The Trip Home
And so we say goodbye to Alan and Maine and start the trip home. However, we are no longer on a deadline to get to anyone's house so we have more time to sight-see on the way. One of the best things about a road trip is that there are so many new...
- Road trip from California to Maine
This is the picture we taped to the dashboard in the truck the day we left. We were invited to visit friends in Maine and take a tour of the Camden Harbor on his lobster boat. We had three weeks and a camper but not a lot of money. We discovered...